Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake

Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake Recipe

Ah, olive oil cakes. Moist, dense, satisfying olive oil cakes. Given how full of character they are—sweet, mellow, unctuous character— they’ve proven to be immensely popular here at Leite’s Culinaria. The fruity notes of olive oil tend to take particularly well to the lilt of citrus, evidenced by the number of readers who’ve told me they love our orange-olive oil cake. When I discovered our newest podcast victim, veteran cookbook author, food writer, and recipe developer Melissa Clark, had a blood orange olive oil cake in her book, In the Kitchen With a Good Appetite, I had to have it on the site. Melissa generously adapted hers especially for you, our dear readers.–Melissa Clark

LC Orange You Glad I Said...Note

Okay, okay, you can use regular oranges in this recipe in place of the sweetly tart, scarlet-hued squat little specimens known as blood oranges–available, maddeningly, only during winter. That said, if you can get your hands on the real deal, you really must do yourself a favor and try them in this cake. As Melissa Clark notes, the cut slices are “dappled with ruby dots.” Mmmm…imagine how pretty that would be.

Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 20 M
  • 1 H, 20 M
  • Serves 8 to 10


  • 3 blood oranges
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Sour cream
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the baking pan
  • Honey Blood Orange Compote, for serving, optional (see recipe below)
  • Whipped Cream, for serving, optional


  • 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (176° C). Oil a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.
  • 2. Grate the zest from 2 of the blood oranges and place it in a bowl. Dump in the sugar and, using your fingertips, rub the ingredients together until the sugar is evenly flecked with the zest and the smell is irresistible.
  • 3. Supreme two oranges: Lop off the bottom and top so a bit of the fruit is exposed and the orange can stand upright on a cutting board. Starting at the top, cut away the peel and white pith with the tip of your knife, following the curve of the fruit. Slice down one side of a section and the other, using your knife to wiggle the fruit out, releasing it from the membranes and letting it fall into a bowl. Repeat with the rest of the sections and do the same to the second orange. Break up the segments with your fingers.
  • 4. Halve the remaining orange and squeeze the juice into a measuring cup. You’ll have about 1/4 cup. Add enough sour cream to the juice until you have 2/3 cup of liquid. Pour the mixture into the bowl with the zested sugar and whisk well. Then plop in the eggs and whisk until incorporated.
  • 5. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Gently whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ones. Switch to a spatula and fold in the oil a little at a time. Fold in the orange segments. Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top.
  • 6. Bake the cake for about 55 minutes, until it is golden and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 5 minutes, then turn it out of the pan and onto the wire rack, right-side up, and cool to room temperature. Serve with whipped cream and Honey-Blood Orange Compote, if desired.

Honey-Blood Orange Compote

  • Supreme 3 more blood oranges according to the directions above. Drizzle in 1 to 2 teaspoons honey. Let sit for 5 minutes, then stir gently.
Hungry for more? Chow down on these:

  1. K C says:

    Using segments in the cake sounds interesting, compared to the orange-olive oil recipe. I’ll give it a try.

  2. Kate says:

    This sounds delicious. Love citrusy cakes. Especially since I’m just about to give up chocolate for lent. It’s going on my list. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Judith Peres says:

    This sounds insanely wonderful and colorful. And, as its Leite’s orange-olive oil cousin before it, destined for my loaf pan. Thank you!

    • David Leite says:

      Judith, can you take a picture of your loafed cake when you make it? I’m curious as to what it looks like.

  4. Linda says:

    This is a beautiful cake. I have made it several times. Served with blood orange sorbet or meyer lemon granita or sorbet, or blood orange, cara cara compote, or with caramelized oranges, blood or cara cara.
    Just lovely!

  5. Vee says:

    Thought I’d let you know that Queen Creek Olive Mill in AZ makes a blood orange olive oil. They also make a chocolate olive oil! Their site lists a multitude of recipes, including several delicious cakes. I am nuts for the Double Chocolate Chocolate Cake. Give it a try!

  6. jason says:

    could i replace the sour cream with greek style yogurt

  7. jason says:

    the color on this loaf was really nice, and it rose really beautifully above the pan. i cut down the down because i always find i need to for recipes i find online, but this one didn’t turn out too sweet–next time i’ll add closer to the full cup when supreming my orange. i got a lot of juice in the bowl–i think this made the end result a bit too wet. next time i’ll just use the segments and add the juice to the 1/4cup step

  8. Neera says:

    David, what is the best way to store this cake so it lasts 4 days? Plastic wrap? Plastic and foil? Thanks!

  9. Okroncke says:

    How much juice is in 3 oranges? I could not find whole blood oranges but found some fresh juice at BJ’s Thank you, -O

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Okroncke, the yield will vary slightly but typically you can expect 1/4 cup juice from a blood orange, so 3 blood oranges would yield 3/4 cup. Happy baking!

  10. Kendall says:

    Lovely cake, moist, with a nice crumb. I thought batter looked alarmingly oily when I put all the olive oil in, and kept double-checking the recipe, but not at all oily to eat. It’s definitely not too sweet–could easily work as tea cake or breakfast loaf (true, I’ll eat cookies for breakfast if they’re there). So for a dinner dessert the whipped cream and compote seem essential. The honey and orange (I used cara cara, having run out of blood oranges) is a fantastic combo…would be great on pound or chocolate cakes too!

    • Julie Dreyfoos says:

      So glad you enjoyed this cake Kendall. So curious what is your favorite type of cookie to eat for breakfast?

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